Hurricane Katrina Case Study

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Hurricane Katrina
Where? New Orleans, USA
When? Formed: August 23rd, 2005
Hit New Orleans on the 29th August 2005 at 6.10am
About the hurricane: Wind speeds had reached 170m
Primary Impacts: 1, 836 people died.
300,000 houses were destroyed
3 million people were without electricity
A main bridge collapsed
Coastal habitats were damaged
The storm surge was more than 6m
Farmland was ruined by saltwater
1.3 million acres of trees were lost
100,000 stayed behind in New Orleans (mainly by choice but some could not
get out due to lack of transportation and fuel)
Toxic chemicals released due to damage
Oil rigs ripped from anchors
Hotels/tourist facilities destroyed
9000 people took refuge in the Superdome
The flood barriers burst so 80% of New Orleans was under 6ft of water
includes roads and railway
Secondary Impacts: Cost of Damage = $300 billion
Tens of thousands made homeless
230,000 jobs lost from destroyed businesses
Electricity, gas and water supplies lost

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Insurance companies refuse to those living near the coast
Widespread looting, murder and rape to fight for the limited supplies
Telecommunications failed
Oil prices rise around the world
Water diseases (Cholera) spread easily
The dead could not be buried
Football team had to find a new training ground
Water supplies polluted with sewage, chemicals and dead bodies.
Fallen trees blocked roads
Wind smashed windows and damaged high rise
Response: US government was criticised for their slow response.…read more

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Vulnerability: New Orleans has very low elevation in relation to sea level.
Lack of nature defence against storm surges. E.g. wetlands and barrier islands.
When New Orleans was being constructed they ran out of usable land to
construct on. To make more room, engineers drained swamplands around the
area so they could continue expansion. This led to the earth's surface sinking
lower in relation to sea level. Now New Orleans is about 6 feet below sea
level.…read more


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